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Discussing the future of research in public administration (PA) is more than just listing topics for reserach which are inspired by possible future challenges for the public sector. Even if national contexts determine a strong path dependency for research agendas, there are four major trends which affect the future of PA research: Europeanisation, reform agendas, globalisation issues, and marketisation of research. A crucial element in the debate is to know what the specific European voice is and should be in PA research. For this purpose it is necessary to explicitly organise research in PA.

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Measurement, incorporation and use of performance information in the budget

A methodological survey approach to map performance budgeting practices in local government

Society and Economy
Pieter Bleyen
Stijn Lombaert
, and
Geert Bouckaert

In search for efficiency, effectiveness and fiscal sustainability, governments gather more performance information than ever before. As many of them have sought to incorporate and use this kind of information in budgeting and planning documents, the main goal of this article is to discover how local government performance budgeting practices can be mapped by a survey in a way that enables international comparison. Three previous mapping endeavors served as preliminary guidelines to develop a refined index based on the dimensions measurement, incorporation and use of performance information which form a generally accepted logical sequence in the public management literature. Results for the case of 304 Flemish local governments show a huge variation in the way performance budgeting is practiced, as index scores vary from nearly zero to more than 76 percent. Although it seems that available performance information is incorporated fairly well, measurement and use are lacking. It can be concluded that measuring performance budgeting offers interesting insights in the way this kind of budgeting is practiced in local governments. Although, from an analytical point of view, it is not sufficient to fully grasp performance budgeting and this for several reasons discussed in the article.

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